For me, it isn’t summer unless I’m reading Carl Hiaasen. Or, at least, it isn’t summer unless I have a Carl Hiaasen book on my bedside table. I read one of his books every summer, not because I don’t really really want to read more (because trust me, I do) but because I really really don’t want to run out any time soon.
I could, I suppose, pick a single Hiaasen novel to write about here, but that seems sort of unnecessary because in my experience, the wonderful things about a single Hiaasen novel are the wonderful things about any Hiaasen novel. So I figure I’ll just talk about those things for a while and then let you go off and discover their individual delights for yourself.
Carl Hiaasen writes comedic mysteries, somewhat in the vein of Douglas Adams’ comedic sci fi or Terry Pratchett’s comedic fantasy. All of his novels take place in southern Florida and revolve around corruption, greed, and the destruction of the environment. They are smart, pointed, endlessly hilarious and deeply satisfying. ‘Cause here’s the thing about the world of Hiaasen: corruption is everywhere (politicians, cops, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, you name it) and his bad guys are truly despicable, but his good guys are truly lovable, and you can be certain that by the end, everyone will have gotten exactly what’s coming to them.
Which is why Carl Hiaasen’s novels remain some of the most cynical and the most idealistic. The war may be endless, but the battles are always won.